Saturday, November 7, 2015

Morghe launches a power play in Ch 8/Sc 2 of RAGING SEA by @KimHeadlee #amwriting

Graphic overlay (c)2015 by Kim Headlee.
This week I return to pressing forward with posting new excerpts from Raging Sea. On 11/9/15 I hope to begin working with my graphic designer to finalize its cover. Soon thereafter, I plan to release part 1, subtitled Reckonings, as a Kindle Unlimited title until I can get the entire novel finished. 

As with all my book releases, Raging Sea: Reckonings will be professionally edited. It would be a gross disservice to my fans to do any less.

Today's installment finds Arthur's sister Morghe (a.k.a. Morgan le Fay) on the eve of her wedding ceremony to Urien, setting into motion a bid for power. 

Because, you know, that's what she does… whatever an author has named her throughout the centuries. :)

Previous excerpts of Raging Sea 
 Chapter 7: Sc 1 | Sc 2 | Sc 3 | Sc 4 | Sc 5a | Sc 5b |
Chapter 8: Sc 1a | Sc 1B |

Raging Sea Chapter 8, Scene 2
©2015 by Kim Headlee
All rights reserved.

Morghe had never been hustled out of a public chamber so fast in her entire life. It would have been aggravating if it hadn’t been so comical. Urien had flushed such a bright shade of red, she’d expected him to fall dead at her feet.

He might have too, if Accolon hadn’t broken the tension with a choked-off laugh that sounded more like water rushing over a breached dam. That seemed to snap the spell cast by Morghe’s question, and Urien had dragged her into the hall’s private audience chamber before she could gauge the reactions of her mother or brother or anyone else.

No, not dragged. Urien still had his head attached—though for how much longer would depend upon the outcome of this conversation.

“I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised,” he was saying, circling the small but luxuriously furnished chamber like a caged lion as Morghe stood in the middle of its slate floor that had been etched with the Boar of Moray. She felt no compulsion to turn with Urien to keep him in sight. Her brother was a mere shout away; she could hear his muted but concerned tones, along with her mother’s and Accolon’s, seeping through the oaken door. “You are your mother’s daughter, after all.”

Morghe judged the timing and put out a hand, allowing his chest to collide with it. The moment of his surprise was all she needed to shift closer, sliding that hand up toward his face while the other slid in the opposite direction. When it found its target and began caressing, his breathing grew husky, and he lowered his ravenous lips upon hers.

Thank God, men were so easy to manipulate.

“And my father’s,” she reminded him as he broke off to feather kisses across her throat toward an earlobe. “Both have taught me much about what it means to rule.” Urien pulled back to look at her, eyebrows knotting. “And my brother taught me that it’s a waste of resources to ignore perfectly good counsel just because one fails to esteem the counselor.”

He glared toward the door for a moment. “What are you implying, Morghe?”

“Isn’t it obvious? Make me chieftainess to rule Moray jointly with you.”

“What!” Although he reined the word to a raw whisper, she thought she detected an escalation in the tone of the conversation outside the chamber. “And halve my power?” She saw the completion of that question—with a woman—in the curl of his lip. “Never.”

She pressed a gentle fingertip to that curl, smoothing it. “Don’t be so quick to assume your calculations are correct.” In response to the skepticism forged between wrinkles of his brow, she asked, “How many votes can Clan Moray cast among the Council of Chieftains?”

“One, of course, unless I cannot be present.”

“Of course. And how many votes has Clan Cwrnwyll?”

The skepticism yielded to dawning recognition. “Chieftainess Ygraine’s . . . and, when she is absent, Chieftain Alain’s.”

“Indeed. My half brother-by-marriage, appointed by the clan’s elders and ratified by the council as a non-voting member except when Ygraine does not attend a gathering because, whether my mother likes it or not, there are some governing decisions that are best suited for men to make. The wars of which your lot are so fond, for example. And does the clan of my other half brother-by-marriage, Lothian, possess an extra council seat?”

She knew the answer was no, and so did he.

“What you ask is so–so—”

Morghe smiled and resumed her attention upon his quickening nethers. Before his mouth could descend upon hers again, she said, “The word you are looking for is logical. There is much good I can perform for Clan Moray as chieftainess, beyond giving you another council seat.”

Urien snorted but didn’t disagree.

“So, as chieftainess,” she murmured as his hands began their dance across her heightened vulnerabilities, “I must again ask why the Scotti contingent is here.”

“Because”—he pulled her closer so she could feel between her thighs the effect she was having upon him—“I do enjoy baiting your brother.”

That much was no state secret. Nor was it a state secret what her brother would do if he could see them now, since their union was not yet legal in the eyes of the Church. But there had to be more to Urien’s decision. Curbing her grin, she began a slow slide against the man who would offer her the world—or at least a share in as much of the world as he controlled. “And?”

“And I have decided to permit the Scots to settle on Moray land”—he increased the pace and pressure of their slide, to her escalating delight—“as a buffer against the Picts along the Argyll border.”

If he hadn’t decided to kiss her just then, he’d have seen panic flare in her eyes.

As she returned his kiss, stroke for passionate tongue stroke, she banished the panic to begin mulling where the baby now known as Eoghann and his guardians could be safely relocated.

No child, regardless of bloodline, deserved to grow up in fear of falling afoul of the merciless Scots.


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